Info & Advice

Misunderstanding with Friends

What Is a Misunderstanding?

A misunderstanding is a situation when you understand someone else incorrectly, or when others understand you incorrectly. Misunderstandings happen when someone believes something about you that is not true, or vice versa. For example, someone may believe that you did something which you did not do, or that you said something which you did not say, or that you meant something which you did not mean.  Misunderstandings may lead to disagreements with others.

Examples of Misunderstandings
With a Friend

Cheryl and Jaime are friends and are in the same class. They get along well. There is a group of girls in their class that Cheryl does not like. However, Jaime is friends with this group of girls. Cheryl is aware of this and does not mind Jaime being friends with them. The class was given a Mathematics test one day and Cheryl failed the test. Feeling upset, she confided in Jaime.

A few days later, Jaime was having recess with the group of girls when Cheryl happened to glance over and saw one of them looking her way and laughing. Cheryl immediately thought that Jaime had told them that she failed her test and they laughed at her. She confronted Jaime and they had an argument. However, in truth, Jaime had shared a joke with her friends and one of them happened to look where Cheryl was standing.  Cheryl had misunderstood that Jaime betrayed her.

These are some examples of misunderstandings which can happen to us. Can you think of misunderstandings which have happened to you? Can you remember the times you misunderstood someone else?

Who Do We have Misunderstandings With?

We can have misunderstandings with anybody whom we interact with. They could be friends, classmates, family members, relatives, teachers, sales assistants, bookshop owners, or just about anyone.

Why Won’t You Believe Me? That Hurts!!

When you are involved in a misunderstanding, you may experience any of the feelings below.

  • Angry
  • Disappointed
  • Hurt
  • Sad
  • Not understood
  • Shocked
  • Lonely

It is normal to experience these feelings as misunderstandings are not pleasant.

What Can You Do if You Have a Misunderstanding with Someone?

When a misunderstanding has just occurred, you may feel upset. You may not be able to think clearly when this happens.

Give yourself and the other party some time to calm down.

Spend some time thinking about the situation, like the following:

  • How did the misunderstanding happen?
  • Can it be avoided? If so, how?

Talk to the person calmly to clarify what happened and how you feel. You can either:

  • Speak to the person face to face
  • Write the person a letter to express your thoughts and feelings
  • Call the person and speak over the telephone

Have patience! Sometimes it takes us more than one attempt before we are successful in clearing up the misunderstanding.

Sometimes, either one or both parties may be at fault. However, if you realised that you were also in the wrong, you may want to apologise.

If you have tried many times to clear up the misunderstanding and nothing is working, it is time to get a mediator. The mediator is a person who can explain things on your behalf. He or she can be a friend, a teacher, a parent, or someone whom you trust to explain things.

You can also seek advice from someone whom you trust, like a teacher, parent, relative, friend or Tinkle Friend. Please note that Tinkle Friend is not able to be a mediator for your misunderstanding. However, you can still call to talk about the issue!